AISI Urges Government to Address Steel Issues with Chinese President

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For Immediate Release
September 25, 2015

Contact: Lisa Harrison
202.452.7115 / lharrison@steel.org

WASHINGTON, D.C. – American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) President and CEO Thomas J. Gibson today urged President Obama to “fight for manufacturing and for steel” during the U.S. visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping this week. Gibson said his group, which represents the majority of North American steelmaking capacity, wholeheartedly supports the positions outlined in letters sent this week to the Administration by nearly 70 members of the Congressional Steel Caucus, led by Reps. Tim Murphy (R-PA) and Pete Visclosky (D-IN); and by leading senators from key steel states, Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Richard Burr (R-NC).

Gibson echoed the concerns of the members of Congress, saying, “China currently produces as much steel as the rest of the world combined. A significant amount of this Chinese steel is exported to the U.S. and other world markets which has contributed to a devastating import surge that has caused steel plants to be idled and workers to lose jobs. We know that China doesn’t play by the same rules as we do. China manipulates its currency to gain unfair advantage in the U.S. and other export markets, and most of China’s steel industry is state owned and subsidized which has led to massive global overcapacity. The Administration cannot let the opportunity to discuss these critical issues during President Xi’s visit pass us by.”

He noted that through the first seven months of 2015, China has exported 67 million metric tons of steel, which is a 27 percent increase over 2014 figures, levels, and on track to exceed 100 million metric tons, greater than all steel production in the United States last year.

Gibson also said that China continues to “fail to abide by market principles,” and noted that AISI on Wednesday filed formal comments with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) regarding concerns about China’s WTO compliance. AISI’s submission emphasized that “China’s substantial, long-term breach of its WTO commitments continues to have serious consequences for American steel producers, other American manufacturers, and the U.S. and world economies.

“The U.S. needs to take bolder steps to address this ongoing problem. The fact that China has not fully complied with its WTO obligations underscores the importance of effective enforcement of U.S. trade remedy laws. All of these issues should be on the table during President Xi’s trip here,” Gibson concluded.

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AISI serves as the voice of the North American steel industry in the public policy arena and advances the case for steel in the marketplace as the preferred material of choice. AISI also plays a lead role in the development and application of new steels and steelmaking technology. AISI is comprised of 19 member companies, including integrated and electric furnace steelmakers, and approximately 125 associate members who are suppliers to or customers of the steel industry. For more news about steel and its applications, view AISI's website at www.steel.org. Follow AISI on Facebook or Twitter (@AISISteel).